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What Darwin Got Wrongby Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini
"In November of 1859, when Charles Darwin excitedly held in his hands the first published copy of On the Origin of Species, virtually no reputable naturalist in England, on the Continent or in America accepted the proposition that species had altered over vast periods of time. The conception itself was not new: Jean-Baptiste de Lamarck had advanced it at the beginning of the 19th century, as had Darwin's own grandfather Erasmus Darwin at the end of the 18th. Even Immanuel Kant entertained the hypothesis, although he rejected it for lack of evidence. By the time Darwin died in 1882, however, hardly a naturalist of standing could be found who denied the transmutation of species, so utterly convincing was the argument of his great book."Robert J. Richards, American Scientist (Read the entire American Scientist review)
Synopses & Reviews
What Darwin Got Wrong is a remarkable book, one that dares to challenge the theory of natural selection as an explanation for how evolution works — a devastating critique not in the name of religion but in the name of good science.
Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini, a distinguished philosopher and a scientist working in tandem, reveal major flaws at the heart of Darwinian evolutionary theory. Combining the results of cutting-edge work in experimental biology with crystal-clear philosophical arguments, they mount a reasoned and convincing assault on the central tenets of Darwin’s account of the origin of species. The logic underlying natural selection is the survival of the fittest under changing environmental pressure. This logic, they argue, is mistaken, and they back up the claim with surprising evidence of what actually happens in nature. This is a rare achievement — a concise argument that is likely to make a great deal of difference to a very large subject. What Darwin Got Wrong will be controversial. The authors’ arguments will reverberate through the scientific world. At the very least they will transform the debate about evolution and move us beyond the false dilemma of being either for natural selection or against science.
“[The] work acts as an important warning to those of us who think we understand natural selection.” The Guardian
“What Darwin Got Wrong is a trenchant, entertaining assault on the very basis of contemporary evolutionary theory.” Literary Review
“[Fodor and Piattelli-Palmarini] make a persuasive case that the role of natural selection in evolution is ripe for reassessment. To say so should not be seen as scientific heresy or capitulation to the forces of unreason — it is a brave and welcome challenge.” The Sunday Times (London)
“Philosopher Fodor and cognitive scientist Piattelli-Palmarini challenge Darwinism more effectively than the entire creationist/intelligent-design movement has . . . Many may find this the hardest, absolutely essential reading they’ve ever done.” Booklist
“A challenging, intriguing argument that poses important scientific and philosophical questions about evolution . . . Fodor and Piattelli-Palmarini take a brave stance that will likely draw reaction . . . from across the scientific and theological spectrum. A dense, scholarly, engaging testament to modern scientific thinking and its ability to adapt and evolve.” Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Jerry Fodor is a professor of philosophy and cognitive science at Rutgers University.
Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini started his academic career as a biophysicist and molecular biologist and is now a professor of cognitive science at the University of Arizona.
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